Data Analytics and Duck Hunting?!

Most people that know me know that I am a passionate outdoorsman.  I love to hunt, fish, boat, camp, hike, backpack, ski….you get the idea.  I am also a businessman with a passion for enterprise performance management and data analytics.

As I was preparing for my last duck hunt of the year on the lower Columbia River, it dawned on me that effective use of data analytics is as important to a successful duck hunt as it is to running a successful business or team. 

Case in point:  The first thing I do is review the tide table for the day I am hunting – there is an 8 foot tide exchange where I hunt.  I need to know exactly what the tide level is when I will be setting up decoys, whether it is rising or falling, and when the high and low tides will be. 

  • Data Point #1.  The next data I need is the direction and speed of the wind.   This will determine where I hunt and how I set up the decoys. 
  • Data Points #2 and 3.  Then I need to know whether it will be sunny or cloudy so I don’t set up with the sun in my eyes. 
  • Data Point #4. I pull all of this information onto a single spreadsheet and plot it on my river map which provides initial insight into the most likely places to hunt (My Duck Dashboard).  Lastly, when I arrive at the boat ramp, I see how many trucks and trailers there are in the parking lot to assess my competition and the impact they will have on duck movements.  I use this information and my Duck Dashboard to make an informed, data-based decision regarding where I will set up for a successful hunt.

So the key question becomes, is all of this data collection, visual analytics and analysis worth the effort???  Just ask my hunting partners who spend hours on end plucking ducks for dinner….

Jim Clark

Vice President, Professional Services

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